This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
After your baby is born, you may have a realization that you have no idea how being a parent really works. Are you really ready for this?
That last month of pregnancy can be one of the longest and worst of your life. You’re uncomfortable, you can’t sleep, your little baby is poking in really odd places, and you’re just ready to meet your new child. You want to have your baby so that you can start getting to know this new life.
The time will come when you head to the hospital, the contractions will become very painful, and after a long (hopefully not too long) labor, your baby will arrive. Things will be a bit messy, you’ll be tired, but a beautiful human life will finally have arrived.
And then, after a couple of nights in the hospital, you’ll be sent home to take care of this new life…
Up until this moment, everything has probably seemed a bit unreal. Yes, you (or your spouse) has been carrying the baby as it’s grown in your belly, and you may have thought about what it would be like to have your baby. But none of it has been as real as the moment that you’ve been discharged from the hospital, and you’re carrying the car seat out to your car.
The hospital is letting you take a tiny new life home, where you must care for it to keep it alive. It may be a bit scary to go into the unknown like this, and you may feel like you can’t do it, but almost every parent before has gone through the same feelings and thought process. You’ll likely feel woefully unprepared for what may actually lie ahead, but that’s not unexpected.
The thing about becoming a parent, and being a parent, is that you’ve never done it before. You’ve never breastfed a child before, you’ve never had another human that was created partially by you, and you’ve never taken on many of the responsibilities that lie ahead. Almost every experience you have as a parent will be something completely new and different to you.
You’ll learn that you are somehow able to function (barely) while only sleeping in 2 hour chunks of time. You’ll learn to understand why your child cries (eventually), and you’ll learn how to comfort your child when they cry. It’s all part of the journey of becoming a parent.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry about your child - you absolutely should. What it means is that you should listen and follow the advice of your doctor. If you’re worried, don’t be afraid to reach out to your physician. If they’re unavailable in a given moment, reach out to a trusted family member or neighbor - most any parent has gone through the same experience that you are, and most will be happy to provide some piece of advice or encouragement.
Be willing to learn and be willing to try new things. Think about your child, and how to best care for them. The first month will be a complete blur later, and it’s why people have more than one kid - if all you remembered was that first month, you wouldn’t have another. It will be a total adjustment not sleeping at all, but it will be temporary. Eventually, longer periods of sleep will come. You won’t be peed and pooped on. You’ll start to feel like an adult again. At the moment it’s hard, but it passes, and you will learn and grow from it.
While this may sound scary or unknown, it’s because it is to some degree. The unknown is always scary. Your strength as a parent will come from going into that unknown, and coming out on the other side.
You can learn to become a parent, just like every other human has in the past. It may seem frightening or unbelievable at first, but by diving into it, you will learn to always be learning about what’s best for your child. And, if you have more than one kid, you will feel like a pro at parenting compared to the first - you learn very quickly.